The information about the benami (without any name) holdings of slain gangster Atiq Ahmed continues to emerge after his death. The Benami Property Investigation Branch of the Income Tax Department has come to know that he had also bought the property in the name of a watchman of a close associate who worked with him.
The department has issued attachment orders for several plots of land purchased in the name of Suraj Pal who worked as a watchman for Mohammad Ashraf, a close associate and right-hand man of the dreaded mafia. Surprisingly, the watchman holds a BPL (below the poverty line) card while owning assets worth crores of rupees. There are plots valued at more than Rs 10 crore in his name in different villages of Prayagraj.
Additionally, income tax officials discovered that Suraj Pal recently sold 42 of these properties for huge amounts. The Income Tax Department has also found out that he consistently filed IT returns and disclosed his revenue from real estate rentals.
The police uncovered, throughout the course of the investigation, that Atiq Ahmed had already purchased 23,447 square metres of land in the Kathula Gauspur hamlet of Tehsil Sadar in the name of a poor man. The current value of his benami property is over 12 crores.
Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed were shot dead outside Calvin Hospital on April 15. Police have since declared the wife of Atiq Ahmed, Shaista Parveen, a fugitive. They received information that both she and Ashraf’s wife Zainab Fatima are currently trying to sell the benami property in order to raise money.
Vijay Mishra, the lawyer of the mobster who was killed in Lucknow, was arrested recently which led to significant revelations regarding the benami property. Mishra was staying at Hotel Hyatt in Lucknow to handle these transactions. The police had recovered property papers worth Rs 12 crore from him. However, Zainab Fatima, who was also present with him managed to escape from there.
Notably, most of the illegal property of Atiq Ahmed has either been attached or bulldozers have been used on the illegal structures. According to the data released by the Uttar Pradesh administration, the property worth about Rs 1169 crore has either been bulldozed or confiscated. Out of this, bulldozers have been employed on land valued at roughly 752 crores and the government has already seized custody of property worth 417 crores.